I continue to adore working around this horse. He's sweet and snuggly, and very relaxed about people being around him. He's a tad mouthy... but I think that might have more to do with having been a stud as it does with being spoiled...
Regardless, it's enjoyable, and I appreciate that the time on the ground is already easy and comfortable. It took a while to get there with Prair (and maybe a tad longer with Pia), but I love being able to move around my horses with ease.
The only reason this post will end up being even slightly interesting is because Supermom was able to come out and actually take some pictures/videos of us :)
We started off with our pretty normal flatwork warmup - light lateral work, again really focused on getting his right hind up under him. I am working on figuring out how to get him up and back without just scrunching up his neck.
This is apparently really, really hard for me. It's also making it obvious how much I relied on Prair's ability to really hold a steady contact. Windsor is so much lighter in the rein, and less educated on balancing, that when I half halt he ducks behind the bit... and I lose my aids to push into. I know I need to push and not pull into balance, but its weird when it feels like there isn't anything to push into.
So there's lots of work to do there for both of us. Look forward to lots variances on this theme in future posts :)
Canter work again worked on coming forward. We worked over two poles, set at an easy 5 strides. The struggle for me is carrying pace and keeping balance through the turn and having a bouncy adjustable stride.
Windsor has a great, bouncy, adjustable stride when you just leave him alone. But when you start trying to negotiate said balance or pace, he flips into a bit of what I will (lovingly) call "Jumper Mode" which essentially involves him saying "stop it lady, I can do this better on my own."
He's not rude, or overly excited.. but he does tense his jaw and lock me out so that he can go engage his autopilot.
Making progress on this negotiation will probably take a while and I'll have to prove that I have something to actually add to the conversation before he softens and totally listens when there is a jump or pole on the horizon.
Also - I should note at this point that even when we are going over a pole (or a few poles rolled together in this instance), I sort of get jumped out of the tack a tad.
Maybe "jostled loose" is a more accurate description, but something happens and I end up feeling like a goober and tipping into my knee (this will be more relevant when we start jumping).
After we finished working through the poles both directions, we started to work over fences. Again, we started with two small verticals on the diagonal. And again, they were pretty easy.
I have a short clip, and I want to point out that over the second fence, I thought I set us up for a flyer (or whatever you would call an obscenely long distance at 2'). So I was surprised when not only was it an acceptable enough distance for my Trainer to allow us to walk after, but on video it looks totally normal.
I think I need to figure out how to sight in on this "holy-crap-this-is-gonna-be-long" distance and not take him where I want to be (which looks a little tight and crappy).
I mean, a little leg and that would look like a deliberate, tactful ride (I think).
Then we worked through the small like again (trot fence in, small vertical out), and again we stopped the first time at the trot fence. I *really* thought I had it this time too. Second time we were totally ok and got through it, but wtf. I can't quite figure out why I'm dropping him on the first approach.
|Trot jump, WHEE|
I swear, these fences feel twenty seven feet tall on this horse.
And I don't mean that because he is scrambley and heaves himself at the jump, or even that they look big to my eye.
I mean they feel big because when he rounds over the top, it feels like he's cracking his back over a max height, max spread oxer in the Olympics.
It makes me want to lay down on his neck and put my automatic release down at his chest because, omg, obviously he needs his neck.
Then I watch the videos and I'm confused because a) the jumps are not large, and b) he is obviously not even trying.
Like, not even a little bit.
|Not Trying. (well, he's not anyway)|
It's just me, feeling like I'm getting popped out of my tack and letting my heel creep and then landing in a heap on his neck.
Clearly we have things to work on.
Because I am constantly trying to keep my ego out of this, (though sometimes it's hard) here are a few clips of the line. It started about 2'6" and we ended at 3'6", though I don't have a clip of that. You can use your imagination though - just take my loose, kinda sloppy self and add another 3" of slop to it, lol.
(again, in both of these you can see I'm taking him to what looks like a good distance to me... but really we could stand off it a tad more and show off his form better)
I mean, there's lots to love about this. He's slow, he's balanced, he lands really nicely. I have zero concerns.... but from a riding standpoint - I have a ways to go.
I suppose that was the theory with this horse. I knew I was buying something that I could relax over the fences on and actually work on myself with. Good thing I have lots to bring to the table for that!
Anyway, I still am in love. He's cute. He's polite, I can tell that we are "going to get there" but I'm slightly worried that he's not going to even pretend to pick his knees up unless we are in the 3'6" ring... and well... I am not ready to be headed in there anytime soon. Gulp.
|blurry Brad is blurry|